UK PM’s former spin doctor denies phone hacking

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister David Cameron’s former spin doctor has formally denied charges of phone hacking and bribery.

Andy Coulson entered pleas of not guilty Thursday at London’s Southwark Crown Court to conspiring to intercept voice mail messages and conspiring to make illegal payments to public officials.

Britain’s phone hacking scandal erupted in 2011, after it was revealed that journalists at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid routinely hacked into voicemail messages of people in the public eye.

Coulson edited the now closed newspaper between 2003 and 2007, when he became Conservative Party communications director.

On Wednesday, former News International chief Rebekah Brooks and a dozen other defendants, most former Murdoch employees, pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the scandal.

All face trial later this year.

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